Tag Archives: police

Image of the day

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town

Police officer screens a fan at the entrance of the Green Point stadium in Cape Town

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town June 11, 2010, ahead of the 2010 World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and France. REUTERS/Oleg Popov (SOUTH AFRICA – Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

French municipal police demonstrate during a protest march in Marseille

A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town

via A fan poses as police officers control the entrance of Green Point Stadium in Cape Town (Picture-9087530).

1 in 10 French police are “issued from immigration,” and this is news because…?

According to the Institut national des études démographiques (Ined), and as reported in Le Figaro, almost 10% of French police are “issued from immigration” (I’ll have to look closer at the original research to see what this means, because in my experience it can mean anything from 1.5 generation to 4th generation) but almost 2/3 of that is from other European countries–Spain, Portugal, Italy– not former French territories and colonies. Still, this is big news because:

1) not many people thought the numbers would be even that high; and

2) these kind state-run surveys of race/ethnicity are extremely rare in France, some even considering them illegal–this particular survey is a direct result of an initiative of Nicolas Sarkozy when he was head of the police as Minister of the Interior

New Course: Writing Police Power

On Monday I’ll start teaching my last course here at Berkeley.  It’s a reading and composition course–so its main goal is to teach first and second-year undergraduates the skills necessary for reading, writing and doing research at the college level–but within that overall goal individual instructors get a huge amount of leeway in picking the course theme.

My course will be “Writing Police Power” and I’m pretty excited by it.  You can see a copy of the syllabus here.  the basic premise of the course is that writing about police, across a variety of genres (including urban ethnography), is a way of writing about power.  This is also the thesis of an article I’ve written, currently under review by PoLAR, but the main point for the students here is to get how different representational strategies couch within theme theories of power–a skill they’ll need if they’re going to be critical readers of ethnographic texts for upper division courses.

Since this is a super-condensed summer course I decided to cut out more of the examples from critical theory (Althusser on interpollation, Lacan on the Purloined Letter, etc.) than I’d ideally like, but I do hope it goes well.  Any comments would be awesome, however…

New Community-Police Re-figurations in Oakland

Jonathan Simon, over at Governing Through Crime has some interesting reflections on a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

From the article it appears that the major tactics are more beat cops walking commercial streets and the creation of a new police linked (but not managed) “outreach” initiative aimed at stalling conlicts in Oakland neighborhoods before it turns lethal.

No doubt the beat cops are reassuring, especially to business people like the furniture store owner interviewed by Chip Johnson:

“We had homeless people sleeping in our doorways, people wandering up and down the block, but when he came, that all vanished,” said Ford, 68. “I would say about four out of six days a week, he will stick his head inside the door and say hi. It’s been a great relief.”

Whether a strategy of chasing homeless people away is constitutional or sustainable in the Bay Area (especially when many of our neighbors may soon be joining their ranks) we will leave for another post, let alone whether it has any effect on violent crime.

More intriguing is the outreach initiative which Johnson credits to Mayor Ron Dellums:

Toribio said outreach workers paid for through the city’s Measure Y program have established a “strong working relationship” with some street toughs. The workers regularly target areas with patterns of violence.

“We send them in when we’ve determined there may be trouble brewing, and they work to try and let calmer heads prevail,” Toribio said.

“Most of these guys (outreach workers) grew up in some of these neighborhoods. They recognize guys from the street,” he said. “Some of them have been to prison and battled their demons, and they have a lot of credibility on the street.”

Leave aside the interesting constitutional questions of an apparatus that “work with police”, but “they aren’t agents of the police and don’t share information.” The approach sounds promising to me.

Ironically it underscores some of the problems that shadow the promise of the police. Why do the police lack so much credibility in neighborhoods suffering from violence that they need a parallel apparatus to provide them information as needed to stop or solve violent crimes? When we put more police offices on the streets how might their conduct actually exacerbate violent crime?

via Governing through Crime: The Promise of Police.

It seems, once again, that contemporary re-figurations of police practice revolve around the constellation of concepts that are central to Weber’s definition of the state.  We have new types of human communities operating on different sorts of terrain under the aegis of unique claims to legitimacy.  This is the ensemble of pragmatic political experimentation that I’ve been calling a “post-social police.

Transatlantic Perspectives on the Local Pursuit of Intelligence at UIUC

Here’s the program for a conference on policing immigrant communities that I’ll be participating in at UIUC.  The text here’s via Legal Theory Blog, but you can also find it at ESQ Blog.me:

“Transatlantic Perspectives on the Local Pursuit of Intelligence”

April 2-3, 2009

University of Illinois College of Law

Conference Organizers: Jacqueline Ross, University of Illinois College of Law, and Thierry Delpeuch, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique

Jointly sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Law; the University of Illinois College of Law’s Program in Criminal Law and Procedure; The University of Illinois Police Training Institute; the University of Illinois European Union Center; the United States Embassy in France; the Ministry of the Interior of France (Délégation à la prospective et à la stratégie); the Agence Nationale de Recherche; and France’s Centre National de Recherche Scientifique

Continue reading Transatlantic Perspectives on the Local Pursuit of Intelligence at UIUC

Center for South Asia Studies: Violence and Creativity Workshop (Update)

An update on the Conference/Workshop I’ll be participating in this Saturday. You can see the full program here.  Or, see the info after the break:

Continue reading Center for South Asia Studies: Violence and Creativity Workshop (Update)

Conference: Violence and Creativity (and the Police Nationale)

Next Saturday (March 7th) I’m going to be giving the first in a trilogy of papers this month on the role of the Police Nationale in French banlieue riots of 2005 and 2008.  The overall goal is to finally have an article ready to go, in the end.

The paper on Saturday is entitled “Electric Burns: governmentality and its discontents in the French banlieue riots”.  The title of the conference is “Violence & Creativity” (see abstracts for both after the break).  It’s sposored by UC Berkeley‘s Center for South Asian Studies and it will be held at International House in Berkeley between 10m and 4pm.  The headliner is Ashis Nandy, who was recent named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world.

Continue reading Conference: Violence and Creativity (and the Police Nationale)